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Lorna Garey

Lorna Garey is editor in chief of Channel Partners. She has been in the tech publishing trenches since 1995, when she joined eWeek, and was most recently content director of InformationWeek digital media.

5 Channel Ops: Verizon Enters Mesosphere, Primary Data’s Debut, New HP Flash Arrays

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Lorna GareyHave you heard of Apache Mesos? If you work for Verizon, the answer might be yes.

Verizon says that the Mesosphere DCOS (data center operating system) will enable its developers “to operate the entire data center as a single cohesive entity. As a result, Verizon will be able to automatically scale services up and down to handle the dynamic needs of millions of customers."

Microsoft has also signed on; Mesos is already supported in Azure, and now it will be able to manage Windows servers as well. Serdar Yegulalp explains the basics of Mesos and the Microsoft deal here.

CSPs, current and aspiring, should take note. You don’t need to run a data center at Verizon’s scale to benefits from Mesos. It’s useful for enabling portability of workloads among hybrid clouds, VMs and local servers; it can dramatically reduce overprovisioning; and you can launch more than 40 services, including Hadoop, with a single command. For the open-source-averse, Mesosphere offers a commercial version with support. The company wrapped up its MesoCon 2015 on Friday. At the event, customers including Verizon as well as Apple, Bloomberg, Netflix and PayPal shared success stories.

Primary Data Makes Storage Play Nice 

I spoke this week with Lance Smith, CEO of software-defined storage provider Primary Data, and the company’s SVP of product, Kaycee Lai, about the late-fall launch of its storage-agnostic DataSphere virtualization platform, which was announced Thursday. By separating the control plane from the data plane, the product enables file mobility across storage tiers, including flash, SAN, NAS and cloud. At VMworld next week, the company will show DataSphere uniting 762 million files sitting on 226 TB of storage across EMC Isilon, NetApp ONTAP, Intel NVMe and Amazon S3 cloud storage under a single global dataspace. That’s something worth seeing.

“DataSphere has two key attributes that we think define a software-defined storage product," said Smith. “It has to be storage-agnostic, meaning you’re not shipping a storage platform that customers have to put their data on."

Smith made a point of saying Primary Data does not sell storage, unlike some big players that enable storage virtualization only on a limited set of gear.

“The second attribute is that it operates out-of-band," said Smith. “We don’t have our technology in the path of data access." Essentially, when a file is requested by an application, DataSphere uses a simple, lightweight lookup to find the data and then works with the file store to retrieve it. The product takes advantage of industry-standard block protocols.

Smith says storage hardware vendors have an incentive to cooperate because overprovisioning can drive customers to the cloud. For partners, the benefits are more straightforward. A solutions provider could sell a wide variety of storage gear and services and easily administer, or help customers manage, a heterogeneous infrastructure. In addition, new technologies, such as object storage, are more easily incorporated with a single point of control.

DataSphere comes in two offerings, to manage 100 million or 1 billion files total, and can be deployed on a virtual or hardware appliance with local caching.

“It doesn’t matter to us what storage vendor is in use," said Smith. “We don’t care how much storage is being managed. It’s all about files. So you can manage a small number of large files or a large number of small files."

The product performs auto-tiering; once policies are set, it automatically places data on the storage that best meets application requirements. Customers can automate data classification, and the system will sound an alert if a company is at risk of noncompliance.

Primary Data, which exited stealth mode late last year, is well funded and employs Steve Wozniak is its chief scientist. It expects to do proofs of concept of DataSphere with dev teams, then expand to financial services, oil and gas and other demanding verticals.

Smith said the company has no plans to assemble a direct sales team.

“We’re building a leveraged sales force where we’re going to heavily rely on the help of our channel partners," said Lai. “It’s going to be a 100 percent channel driven environment; all sales teams will be incented to work with partners."

The company is looking to sign up large regional VARs now, said Lai, and gradually open the program up to more providers. “Our goal is to figure out programs that will lead to sustainable success for each partner."

DataSphere is sold in an annual subscription model and starts at $25,000 per year.

HP Continues Storage Beat

It’s a big week for storage announcements. Besides the Primary Data news, tiered storage service provider ClearSky Data came out of stealth mode, and HP announced additions to the 3PAR StoreServ Storage family. Among them: a new eight-controller StoreServ device, updates to the 3PAR OS to enable granular latency controls and technology to automate SAN fabric zoning.

Clearly, HP hopes to grab more of the rapidly growing – and highly contested – flash storage market. The headline is the new, affordable 8000 family of all-solid-state and converged-flash arrays that support scale-out expansion. The 8000 line starts at $19,479, a good price for an all-flash box with 20 Gbps of read bandwidth. With the 8000 devices, a customer could pack as much as 5.5 petabytes of usable flash capacity in one rack. HP also added some new members to the higher-end 20000 line, aimed at enterprises and service providers, and certified arrays to run SAP HANA. On the software side, the 3PAR Operating System now allows IT to set latency goals as low as 0.5 milliseconds and better protect VMs by taking application-based snapshots and copying changed blocks directly to an HP StoreOnce appliance.

Google Launches Partner Console, Media Export

Got SMB customers using Internet circuits with low and slow upload bandwidth speeds and a pile of backup tapes sitting in a local closet? Google wants you to get that data into its cloud with a new Offline Media Import/Export service. In a nutshell, a partner collects the physical media (encrypted, please) and loads the data on the customer’s behalf into any Google Cloud Storage class — Standard, Durable Reduced Availability or Nearline. Once the data is uploaded, the partner may return the hard drives or tapes to the customer, or as an add-on, store or destroy the media. Right now, Iron Mountain is on board, but any solutions provider can participate. There is no fee, except the storage costs.

In addition, Google Cloud Platform services partners, take note: The company announced this week a new reseller option that will allow you to provision and manage customers, from onboarding through implementation, via a new unified console. The console allows resellers to be the first line of support for problem resolution and issue a consolidated bill for all Google services. The company is now accepting applications from current Google Cloud Platform services partners and plans to expand the program to new partner applicants in early fall.

SD WANs Hit Stride

If you’re not up on software-defined WANs, check out our new report, Is A Software-Defined WAN Right for Your Customers? (and note that the report’s author, Russ White, will be a featured speaker at Cloud Partners). Then, take a look at announcements from Talari and Neformix/Mushroom Networks.

Netformx, which helps solutions providers increase profitability by reducing time-to-quote and implementation error rates, announced this week inclusion of Mushroom Networks’ SD-WAN orchestration and management products in the Netformx KnowledgeBase content library. By providing access to product descriptions, pricing, icons and rules data, the library helps solutions providers more easily incorporate SD-WANs in their customer proposals. Included products are the Truffle broadband bonding and SD-WAN orchestration service; Truffle Lite, an entry-level Internet load balancer for small and midsize businesses; and PortaBella, 3G/4G wireless bonding device for mobile and temporary deployments.

The Netformx KnowledgeBase now includes more than 1 million devices and components and more than 3 million configuration rules. Technology partners include APC, Avaya, Brocade, Cisco, F5 and many more.

Talari T5200Also this week, SD-WAN specialist Talari announced new appliances – both physical and virtual – and an update to its Adaptive Private Networking (APN) operating system aimed at making an SD-WAN work across a variety of network configurations. The Talari VT500 virtual appliance runs on VMWare vSphere, either on commodity hardware or embedded in a service offering. The Talari T5200 is a new entry in the company’s hardware line that adds support for 10-Gbps fiber interfaces; it can act as a network controller for a Talari SD-WAN and has multiple high-availability options, including active/active high availability pairs and geographic redundancy. To its APN software, Talari added the option of moving the SD-WAN controller to the cloud, simplifying management of the virtual WAN, as well as some welcome security options. All products are available now from Talari or its channel partners.

Bits & Bytes

Virtualized Shops Pay More For Breaches: Kaspersky Labs’ new 2015 Security of Virtual Infrastructure survey of 5,500 companies shows that virtualized enterprises pay more than $800,000 on average to recover from a security breach, twice as much as incidents involving only physical infrastructure. And, on average, SMBs reported damage of more than $26,000 for an attack on their physical infrastructures while the involvement of virtual infrastructure drives the cost up to nearly $60,000. The reasons are not clear cut; for some, it’s that they run the most critical systems on VMs. For others, it’s a lack of virtual-aware security. The report, available here, offers some tips.

Police Cams: Where’s The Storage? A piece in Morning Consult this week points out that while the Feds are moving to provide grants for body cameras for law-enforcement personnel, there’s no guidance – or even consensus – on where all that (potentially sensitive and evidentiary) video footage should be stored. A leading provider of these cameras defaults to AWS, but that could lead to problems, say experts. Partners who work with local and state governments may want to weigh in before too much of this video data piles up.

Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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